Shoppers and foodies in Southlake can now earn 5% cash back on retail and dining purchases through the city’s new open rewards program.

As city staff saw inflation continue to impact residents and local businesses owners, they wanted to find a way to create a sustainable business environment in Southlake. The city decided to use hotel occupancy tax funds to incentivize shopping locally, which helps business owners and residents.

“Our goal is to create a sustainable business environment here for this city,” said Daniel Cortez, director of economic development and tourism. “It's not solely up to us, but we need to find creative strategies to help alleviate some of the pressures for businesses and consumers.”

Cortez said he knew individuals would want something simple to use, so he said city staff wanted to make the experience as seamless as possible.

“It’s super simple,” Cortez said. “We felt pretty strongly about making it easy on the consumer because we all have a ton of apps on our phones.”

Interested individuals can start saving in three easy steps:
  1. Download the Open Rewards app
  2. Create an account and select Southlake as your community
  3. After making a purchase at one of Southlake’s eligible businesses, upload a photo of the receipt to the app
After uploading the receipt, individuals will receive an alert that they’ve earned 5% cash back. Individuals can link their app with Zelle, Paypal or a debit card to transfer the funds to their bank account. Cortez said individuals can also request a check be mailed to them.

Cortez said after one week, the app has 289 active users who have made 1,077 transactions.

“What that tells me is people are making multiple purchases using this program,” Cortez said. “[The app] is definitely getting used, which we love.”

This program is designed to benefit both consumers and businesses, but does not place any additional responsibilities on local businesses owners.

“The beauty of this program is there's no burden on the business,” Cortez said.

Another perk of the program is individuals do not have to live in Southlake to participate. Individuals who live or work in neighboring communities such as Grapevine and Colleyville can earn cash back on their purchases as well.

As the city staff planned this initiative, they decided to offer a competitive 5% cash back.

“One of the things that came to my mind was credit cards and what do people do for 2 or 3% cash back. “We figured, ‘Let's sweeten the deal a little more and incentivize consumers further to spend locally’”.

Cortez said city staff has already received positive feedback from the community about the app experience.

“We've received several comments on Facebook about the program through people sharing and putting the word out there saying ‘this is super easy’ and ‘it works’,” Cortez said. “If you're already spending anyway, why not just [download the app]? With all the effects we've seen in inflation over the last couple years, it just helps to get some of that back.”

To learn more about Southlake's open rewards program, visit the city’s website.

The above story was produced by Multi-platform Journalist Mary Katherine Shapiro with Community Impact's Storytelling team with information solely provided by the local business as part of their "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team.